I had a second visit with my naturopath this week! We discussed a bunch of things, including the results from my food sensitivity test that I took at my first visit to a naturopathic doctor, as well as how to transition into the next phase of the Elimination Diet which begins next week – the “Reintroduction” phase.
First up are the results to my IgG food sensitivity test, and an explanation of the difference between a sensitivity and an actual allergy. An IgE (or immunoglobulen E) food allergy is an immediate reaction, usually occurring within minutes of consuming a food, and may include serious reactions such as hives, difficulty breathing and anaphylaxis. In contrast, an IgG (or immunoglobulen G) food sensitivity is a delayed reaction that occurs hours to days after the food is consumed. Reactions may include headaches, bloating, IBS, indigestion and fatigue. You can find more information on IgE Food Allergy and IgG Food Sensitivity from Rocky Mountain Analytical in Calgary, which is where my results came from.
My reaction to food tends to be in the second group of symptoms, so I decided to do the IgG test. I was SO fascinated by my results! I learned that my body has a high to very-high sensitivity to all dairy products, eggs, almonds and peanuts. I have moderate sensitivity to banana, pineapple, gluten, wheat, spelt and pecans. I have a low sensitivity to cranberries, rye and garlic. The rest of the chart, including all fish, all other fruits and veggies, all meats, cocoa, honey, coffee, sugar cane, coconut, corn, and other nuts and grains all showed zero reaction. All of this information is presented in a series of graphs that looks like this:
Now that I’m armed with this information, I can knowingly avoid the foods that cause a high reaction and perhaps enjoy them on special occasions only, because you can’t ask a dutch girl to give up bread and cheese. You just can’t!
Going dairy-free will be less of a challenge because I already started that at the beginning of the year, but going gluten-free and egg-free is a whole new adventure with a completely different book of rules. All I can say is that my Kitchenaid mixer and I are gonna get REAL close. I’m looking forward to baking more, but with healthier ingredients that won’t upset my stomach. I’m on a mission to find a great gluten-free bread recipe.
The next phase of the Elimination Diet is the reintroduction of foods that were on the “Don’t Eat” list for the past 30 days one at a time, and tracking the reaction that my body has to them. For example, Husbie and I are thinking of starting with pork. On Day 1 of the reintroduction, we’ll eat a portion of pork with every meal (hey bacon, I’m looking in your direction). That means breakfast, lunch AND dinner.
If there is no immediate reaction, we repeat the format of day one and include pork with every meal on day two. On day three, we return back to the elimination diet rules to give my body time to show any symptoms. If none occur, we start the whole process over on day four with a new food type, such as soy products. Considering there are around 7-8 separate groups of food that we cut out at the beginning of the elimination diet, this reintroduction phase will likely take around a month also.
As we go through the reintroduction phase, we can continue eating the foods that we have no reaction to. So if pork is all good, we can introduce it back into our normal diet while we try adding other new foods back in! I can’t wait to start being less restricted in our meal choices.
I had made reservations for our wedding anniversary on the 18th at a local restaurant called Corso 32 a while ago, and I had to cancel, because we’re not quite at the point in this process that we can comfortably eat out and not worry about ingredients. Corso 32 is a more intimate venue that has only around 32 seats, serves the most indulgent and rich Italian food, and requires reservations months in advance, and we were SO excited to eat there.
Now we’re trying to figure out something else amazing that we can do for our anniversary without getting too hung up on the disappointment. I’m working on an interesting idea that totally suits us…I want our anniversary to be special!
- The first week of the elimination diet was really hard. I felt hungry and irritated all week and I lost 5 pounds, which for me, isn’t a positive thing. I had to adjust quickly to consuming more calories, more often. When you restrict your diet and you cut out all the filler calories, it’s surprising how much you have to over-eat the healthy things in order to compensate. It was also really hard to focus on what we could eat, instead of what we couldn’t.
- It was important to surround myself with people who offer support and encouragement. I would not have been as strong if it weren’t for Husbie, my bestie, and my cousin that’s about to become an ND! It’s not easy to do something this drastic on your own. Willpower only goes so far. A special shout out to my mama for buying me Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook “It’s All Good” – full of vegan and elimination friendly meal ideas! It’s a fabulous cookbook and we’ve found a few favorites out of it already.
- Being social gets more difficult when you can’t really eat anywhere other than your own kitchen. We’ve had to bring our own ingredients and cook separate meals at my parent’s house when visiting, we’ve had to turn down invites to go out with friends for dinner, and we’ve missed out on some favorite summer activities, like the Heritage Festival.
- Turns out that sugar withdrawals can be pretty intense. Sugar almost led to my downfall – the hardest moment for me was standing alone in the kitchen at my parent’s house staring at a plate of cupcakes at my niece’s first birthday, and fighting the urge to shove one in my mouth, because no one would have known. It sounds silly, but it took every fiber of my being to walk away. (My mama has since put one of the cupcakes in the freezer for me to enjoy after I’ve introduced refined sugars back into my diet!)
This whole process has been rather overwhelming and difficult, but it really has been so rewarding. I take great satisfaction in knowing that I’m doing something valuable for my body by actually LISTENING to it and giving it more of what it wants. It is unbelievable how the phrase “you are what you eat” rings true (thanks for this, Shannon!) and this diet has been a strong reminder that every bite of food I put in my mouth is not just for enjoyment, but for energy, nourishment, balance, efficiency of all systems, and straight-up health. The difference in the way I feel after almost a month of eating this way confirms that it was necessary and worth it.
I’m not typically a boastful person, but I feel proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished!